Reap the benefits of the rower by adding one of these machines to your workout space.
If you want a hardcore workout that will build up your aerobic fitness, torch calories, and sculpt your back, hamstrings, and glutes, look no further than indoor rowing. The machines take the principles of rowing crew on an actual boat and apply them in an indoor setting, so—in most cases—no water necessary.
The rower offers a great chance to switch up your cardio routine when you get sick of the treadmill or elliptical, while also working your entire body in a way no running routine can. That’s just one reason why it’s a great idea to have a rower handy—but there are definitely more.
Since rowers are (relatively) compact, they can make a great addition to any home gym, especially if you’re treadmill-phobic or bike-averse. Here are our top picks for the best ones to add to your setup.
Nordic Track RW900 Rower
Want group fitness workouts in the comfort of your own home? This rower from NordicTrack has you covered. The RW900 has a 22-inch touchscreen, which allows you to take classes on-demand and automatically adjusts your resistance level according to the trainers’ preferences. You’ll even be challenged to go beyond just cardio, with strength training and yoga classes, too.
Hydrow Connected Rower
Want the experience of hitting the water in the comfort of your own home? The Hydrow is another smart connected rower—but the focus here is on recreating the on-water experience, rather than that of an indoor fitness studio. Take live or on-demand classes or take an unguided “journey” to explore the water without leaving your house.
Schwinn Crewmaster Rowing Machine
This compact machine from Schwinn is built to handle everything from basic workouts to intense training sessions. The rig has 10 levels of magnetic resistance to keep you challenged as you become a stronger puller.
Velocity Exercise Magnetic Rower
Thanks to magnetic resistance operation, you’ll enjoy a smooth ride with this pick from Velocity Exercise. Oversized non-slip pedals keep your feet securely in place, while a molded-foam padded seat offers maximum comfort. Fold and stow once you’re done.
Concept2 Model D Indoor Rowing Machine
The Concept2 Model D is one of the best-selling indoor rowing machines out there, for good reason. You’ll get a smooth ride with minimal noise, plus adjustable footrests and an ergonomic handle for maximum comfort. Once you’ve finished your workout, it separates into two pieces for easy storage.
Water Rower Club Rowing Machine
This indoor rower mimics the dynamic motion of rowing through real water. Customize resistance by filling the water tank with more or less water, as desired. The wood finish helps you feel more at home than you might at the gym, too.
Stamina Conversion II Recumbent Exercise Bike/Rower
Score a quality indoor rower and recumbent bike in one piece of equipment. As a bonus, the rower handle allows you to perform upper-body strength exercises, like bicep curls and triceps kickbacks. Built-in grip sensors measure your heart rate and display that info on an LCD display, along with speed, distance, time and calories burned.
Merax Water Rowing Machine
This unsubtle water rower doesn’t make any efforts to hide its tank. The company claims that its inclined position makes for a more powerful form of resistance to your pulls.
Sunny Health & Fitness Magnetic Rowing Machine
A great budget rower. This option from Sunny Health and Fitness features non-slip foot pedals, eight resistance levels, and built-in wheels for easy moves. Track your progress from a monitor that displays calories, time and count.
Stamina 35-1215 Orbital Rowing Machine
Best for small spaces, this Stamina rowing machine is compact, yet effectively mimics rowing through real water with smooth, hydraulic cylinder resistances. This machine also features a thick, padded seat for maximum comfort, as well as pivoting footrests.
Stamina 35-1402 ATS Air Rower
Nab a smooth ride with a rower powered by wind resistance. The Stamina 35-1402 rowing machine also offers a sliding padded seat, adjustable nylon foot straps, and floor protectors to prevent slippage mid-workout. Fold it up for easy storage when not in use.
Concept2 Model E
Concept 2’s Model E indoor rower is one step above the previously-listed Model D, according to the company—but there’s enough here that makes it well worth inclusion. The Model E features a higher frame, making it easier to get on and off the machine, a major benefit if your knees give you pain. The performance monitor is within easy reach and offers accurate data tracking for each and every pull.